How quickly things change. On Thursday (February 9), City Hall investigates the troubled history of Tower Hamlets. What could have been a dry, academic exercise in hindsight suddenly possesses a chilling topicality.
The police and crime committee will quiz participants in the various Tower Hamlets election scandals that sent ripples through the political establishment and acted, unknowingly, as an amuse-bouche to the upheaval of the political classes that has been occurring ever since.
Although it will be interesting to hear from key players like Sir Ken Knight, one of the commissioners sent in to sort out the Lutfur Rahman mess, it is the Met Police who desperately need to offer transparency.
They won’t, I suspect. They’ll shimmy past the only question that matters – how come, when there was so much criminality, proved to a criminal standard in a court of law, did not a single Rahman acolyte, place man or stooge face charges.
The question has irritated campaigners for years. No-one outside Scotland Yard believes it makes any sense. Even the election court judge was critical of the Met’s “Three Wise Monkeys” approach.
The fury over the Met’s decision should have become a footnote in a disastrous chapter in the history of local government. But this investigation comes just as Lutfur Rahman looks to relaunch his career, using the Met’s inexplicable decision as validation of his innocence. He's even looking to overturn his five-year ban on standing for office arguing he's clean – the Met Police said so.
Mr Rahman won’t be deeply troubled by the ruin he brought upon the borough , one assumes. But he still appears hooked on the fake high offered by the same, soulless sycophantic voices of old.
Astonishingly, they still exist. The weak-willed, the myopic and the ignorant still believe he has something to offer and they benefit from the association. In turn, he may well prosper as their puppet master.
For the shadows are where Rahman thrives. A strangely unremarkable figure, he was unable to talk to anyone but his entourage even when he led the borough.
So the prospect of seeing his drones tilt for the mayoralty in 2018 and, perhaps, Jim Fitzpatrick’s Poplar and Limehouse constituency in 2020 will suit his hollow enterprise.
But what is the end game? To clear his name, clear his debts, clear the way for his own improbable resurrection?
Everyone is looking on and wondering. Is this just a grotesque sideshow? Or another unthinkable political revolution that will happen against all odds and regardless of consequence, raining catastrophe upon the helpless in a never-ending torrent.
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